After Shaquille O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004, the Los Angeles Lakers rebuilt their team around Kobe Bryant. During the rebuild, the Lakers failed to make the playoffs and were eliminated by the Phoenix Suns twice during this three-year period. As a result of the lack of talent around him, Kobe Bryant demanded a trade during the summer of 2007.
In an interview with Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose on Grantland, Kobe confirmed the Lakers wanted to trade him to the Detroit Pistons in 2007, but he rejected the trade:
“I gave you a list of teams I’m comfortable being traded to. That wasn’t one of them, so no.”
In the proposed trade, the Lakers were going to receive Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Price and numerous draft picks for Kobe. With the trade not going through, Kobe shared the Chicago Bulls were his number one trade destination:
“Chicago was my number one choice.”
After the Lakers did not surround Kobe with talent during his prime seasons, the five-time champion was frustrated and demanded a trade. While Chicago was his preferred destination, owner Dr. Jerry Buss ultimately persuaded him to stay in Los Angeles.
During the 2007-08 season, the Lakers were able to acquire Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies and Kobe won his only Most Valuable Player award. While the Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, they were able to win two consecutive championships.[divide]